Frantom, Hempy shine for Warriors on Day 1 of NAIA Championships

MARION, Ind. — Taylor Frantom and Kirsten Hempy earned NAIA All-American honors on the first day of the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Marion, Indiana. Frantom finished sixth in the women’s pole vault with a personal best of 3.55 meters (11-7.75). Hempy finished sixth in the javelin with a personal record of 42.88 (140-8).

Hempy’s mark is the third best in the Warrior record books and moves her into second place among Westmont’s top performers.

“It was so great to have the 42.88 PR,” said Hempy. “When I was here two years ago for the open javelin, it did not go well. I had a dud first throw and then I had a good one but fouled. Then on my last throw, I got all nervous and tense. I was pretty upset.

“Last year, I went abroad for a year. So coming back two years later it felt good to prove I deserved to be here and compete and make the finals. I came into the event ranked twelfth and bumped up to make the top-nine and make the finals.”

Frantom’s pole vault mark was the second best performance in Warrior history.

“I was really nervous,” acknowledged Frantom, “but for the most part I felt very good. It felt like I was faster. I think the tailwind had a lot to do with it. Earning All-American was my main goal. With only 15 girls competing and seated twelfth, there were only four girls in my way.”

The weather in Marion played a definite role on the first day of the meet. The temperature reached 86 with relatively low humidity. However, a strong southerly wind blew throughout the day, reaching 20 miles an hour and making the home stretch of the track a significant challenge.

Among those affected were Adam Thompkins who competed in the decathlon.

“In the 100 meters, I was disappointed because we were originally going to run with the wind but then they changed it and we ran against the wind,” said the senior. “I would have had a personal record.”

Despite the wind, Thompkins finished first in both decathlon running events. In the 100 meters, he posted a time of 11.31 to earn 793 points. In the 400 he had a time of 49.78, garnering 825 points.

Overall, Thompkins completed the first day in second place with 3,616 points. His long jump mark of 6.69 meters (21-11.5) was sixth best on the day and awarded him 741 points. In the shot put, he threw for 11.40 meters (27-5) to gather 570 points with an eleventh place finish. In the high jump, Thompkins cleared 1.87 meters (6-1.5) to tie for fourth at collect 687 points.

In addition to her performance in the javelin, Hempy also competed in the first day of events for the women’s heptathlon. As of the end of the day, Hempy sits in tenth place with 2,510 points. If she can improve two places by the end of tomorrow’s events, she will earn a second All-American title.

“I think the 200 was a PR,” said Hempy of her 15.91 time that earned her 725 points. The high jump and shot put were good, but a couple of centimeters less than I was going for. Close enough that I can’t be upset about it. The hurdle race was pretty decent, right into that wind though, so it made the time not quite as fast. Overall I’m pretty happy.”

Hempy cleared 1.40 meters (4-7) in the high jump, finishing fourteenth and earning 512 points. Her shot put mark of 9.89 meters (32-5.5) was eleventh best in the 15 person field and added 522 points to her total. Hempy finished sixth in the 200 meters.

“Tomorrow, I hope to move up in the javelin,” said Hempy. “The two events where I get the most points are the 200 and the javelin. The javelin is my biggest point getter and it comes at the end of the day. If I can get a solid long jump and a good javelin, then hopefully I can catch a couple of girls.”

Competing in the trials of the men’s 800 meters, Matt Shiney finished fourth in the first heat to advance to tomorrow’s final. Shiney posted a time of 1:54.82.

“The race started off a little slower than I wanted and I wasn’t in the position that I wanted to be,” noted Shiney. “I came through the first lap in first place, which is not generally where I run my best. Then I got boxed in the next 200 meters and I started to feel like my season was coming to an end. The last 150 meters, I decided that I didn’t want it to end. I passed those two guys and was able to get the automatic qualifier.”

Reflecting on tomorrow’s semifinal, Shiney shared, “I’m going to try and stay off the rail and keep to the outside of lane one. I’ll try and wait to make my move until the beginning of the second lap.”

Also advancing to the semifinals was freshman Elysia Hodges in the women’s 400 meter hurdles. Hodges finished first in the first preliminary heat with a time of 62.84. Teammate Laurel Stormans posted a time of 64.68 in the second heat of the prelims, but did not advance.

Nathan Kemp ran in the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase, leading most of the way but falling back to seventh place in the final 500 meters of the second heat. However, Kemp’s time of 9:38.22 was good enough to earn him a place in Saturday’s finals.

“I never intended on leading, it just kind of unfolded that way,” said Kemp. “I knew I had a better chance of qualifying if I made it a fast race. So, I just kept rolling with what felt good. I was in second on the first lap and I hurdled a little faster than the guy in second and cut in front of him. He seemed happy with that.

“The pace was a lot slower than my PR, but the conditions felt pretty hard with the heat and the wind,” offered Kemp. “I am excited to be in the finals. This is the first time I have reached a final that had a prelim. I consider that an accomplishment in itself. I am going to go for it, do my best and be proud of whatever I do.”

Evan Bradford competed in the 1,500 meter prelims but did not advance, finishing twenty-second with a time of 4:02.71.

Amanda Chevalier competed in both the 100 meter and 200 meter prelims, both against the wind, but did not advance to the semifinals. In the 100 meters she posted a time of 12.89, finishing twenty-seventh. Chevalier missed qualifying for the 200 meter semifinals by 0.25 seconds, finishing nineteenth in a time of 25.95.

On the schedule for Friday is the conclusion of the multi-events for Thompkins and Hempy, the 800 meter semifinals for Shiney and Theresa Nealon, the 400 meter semifinals for Hodges and the women’s 5,000 meter semifinals for Danica Rosendale.